United States: Retail sales growth disappoints in December
January 14, 2015
In December, growth in retail sales decreased 0.9% over the previous month, in nominal terms. The print contrasted the 0.4% increase recorded in November (previously reported: +0.7% month-on-month) and came in below market expectations of a 0.1% decrease. The result, which was the weakest since January, was driven mainly by lower sales receipts at gasoline stations due to the steady decline in gas prices. Sales at electronics retailers, building materials stores, and department stores also posted declines.
Retail sales excluding cars and gas—a closely watched subcategory of the retail trade index—decreased 0.3% in December over the previous month. The reading contrasted the 0.6% expansion recorded in November and the 0.6% increase expected by the market.
Retail sales rose 3.2% in annual terms in December, which was below the 4.7% increase recorded in November. Moreover, the annual trend decreased, with annual average growth in retail sales ticking down from 4.0% in November to 3.9% in December.
Author: Carl Kelly, Economist